My new love of thrift stores

I recently decided I needed some wall decor for a large, blank wall in my room. I wanted to put up a ton of pictures – but needed to find some cheap frames since in essence I was going to be ‘destroying’ the frames by spray painting them. I found a few cheap frames at Walmart, but all the frames were the same – I wanted some that were unique and fun and unexpected, so I hit up Goodwill. I’ve shopped at Goodwill in the past for costumes and miscellaneous items over the years but what I found at Goodwill in the pictures section was just amazing! I found about 40 frames at Goodwill, Arc, and Habitat for Humanity and I only paid $30 – that’s mind-blowing savings. The best part is that the frames I got are unique and fun and unexpected!! My completed wall mural is going to be banging!

This little adventure got me thinking about ways I can re-purpose other items found at thrift stores and the wealth of things that can be found at a local thrift store. First, it cuts down on consumerism and the overabundance of resources used to create new products every day. Second, by buying used goods I can experiment with painting techniques and things found on Pinterest. Third, it was a blast to shop at a thrift store and see all the cool and unique things that were there -plus,  there was brand new products still in their packaging, like dishes, glasses, clothes, and so on. Why pay $50 for a new set of dishes when you can pay $10?! Fourth, for people who like to change it up frequently this is a great way to do so without breaking the bank every few months.

I don’t mean to come off as a snob or anything, but I guess I was truly naive to what could be found at a thrift store. And since I’m currently anti-consumerism, reusing goods is a great way to still find the things I want without contributing to the over-usage of resources. Me = love, love, love thrift stores!


Growth does not equal Prosperity

I feel compelled to share the most interesting, shocking, and life-changing information that I learn while in graduate school because I feel that education is a very powerful tool. The most life-changing-stop-and-think-another-way thing I have learned this last week in school is that growth does not equal prosperity. Take a moment to think about that….. In my mind, and I would say in most people’s minds, growth and prosperity are synonyms or at the very least one does equal the other. The following video says otherwise: Growth vs. Prosperity. I strongly recommend spending less than 4 minutes to watch this video because Chris Martenson does a much better job explaining this process than I probably will, but here’s what I took away from this video:

Martenson explains people get in trouble and problems when they think that growth and prosperity go hand-in-hand. Martenson says that IN FACT, surplus leads to growth and surplus leads to prosperity, but you can’t have both. He gives an excellent example about a family with a set financial situation and then one year they earn a little more; the family can choose to reproduce (growth) or go on a family vacation (prosperity), but the family can’t do both because they don’t have that much extra/surplus money. After watching the video, I sat in class, just absolutely stunned. I think Martenson is right, people get in trouble when they think they can have growth and prosperity with the same surplus or the fact that they have to have both and think they don’t have the option to choose between which road they take. Can a business not have prosperity without employing additional people? Well the truth is they can and probably should. Why not boost prosperity for a substantial amount of time before thinking about growth? Wouldn’t families and businesses alike benefit from prosperous growth, whether that be additional trainings, travel, learning a new skill or just overall life better-ment without additional stress?! I think more people, families, and businesses should pursue prosperity without growth. I think this could lead to happier and healthier lives for every aspect of a person’s life.

Martenson has his whole website dedicated to economic growth by not being stupid. I went on to watch the remaining videos in his series, called The Crash Course. The remainder of his videos talk about overpopulation and the value of a dollar. All his videos are straightforward and pretty simple to understand so I’m definitely a new fan of Chris Martenson. But remember Growth does not equal Prosperity! Let that sink in for a few days before making your own conclusion about this statement because it took me a few days to see the genious-ness of Martenson’s statement.

Cleaning up my life

Traveling to Costa Rica changed my life in ways I cannot even articulate yet. However, the most striking thing I noticed and learned while I was there, was how much people didn’t have, yet everyone was happy, calm, and seemed at peace. Once I got back to the United States I started looking around my life and noticed a lot of things that I had but didn’t need or hadn’t used in over a year – so I went to work cleaning up my life.

First, I started with my room. I had so much clutter and junk in my room, I could very clearly see why I had a hard time studying for school in my room – I was too distracted by the stuff that served no purpose. I went through my closet and donated a few things. I went through my bookshelves and either put the books for sale on Amazon or put them in a box in the basement to be used at later points in my life when I’m a “grown up.”

After I had finished with my room I cleaned out my car and my possessions in the basement and then started helping my parents clean up their lives too. This whole process took about two weeks to diligently clean all aspects of my life. Along the way I learned a few things about myself too. First, I really enjoy my spaces now that there isn’t so much chaos and clutter and I definitely feel more calm in my spaces. Also, I’m just as happy, if not more happy, now that I’ve donated a bunch of things. Costa Ricans have this happiness without all the junk weighing them down, and now I can totally see why. Who knew something so simple as cleaning and organizing could make such a significant difference in someone’s life?! The trick now for me will be to maintain this peace and serenity in my spaces….